Good Ol’ Southern Shrimp N’ Grits

I grew up in the south. I was a Georgia Peach long before my 20 years as a Bendite, and you would only know it after 3 whiskeys. I slide right on into that accent, and start craving aaaallll the soul food of my childhood. This happened to be the case last weekend. Something about sitting outside on a warm night with a little backyard fire, imbibing, and listening to the crickets chirp that required me to make one of my favorites, good ol’ southern shrimp n’ grits. Dear lordy! As I was cooking, I realized it is reminiscent of jambalaya over corn instead of with rice, and that is certainly okay with me *side thoughts, I digress*.

There’s just something about those late August Rainshadow tomatoes, leeks and peppers that make this dish sing (some type of twangy bayou tune, of course). The depth of flavor that comes with slow to mature summer produce resonates with me, but maybe because I’m southern at heart, and everything in the south moves just a little slower 😉 Anyway, back to the food. I love this dish so much and I hope you enjoy too!

Good Ol’ Southern Shrimp N’ Grits

(serves 4-6)


The Grits:

1 cup polenta
1 qt chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Some amount of water to keep the polenta smooth
1 cup sharp aged cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp bacon fat (or butter)
1 Tbsp Fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
Salt and pepper to taste

The Shrimp:

1 lb wild prawns, peeled and deveined
8oz andouille sausage (about 3 sausages), sliced
1 lb plump cherry tomatoes, (or whatever type), roughly chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large leek, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced (or however much you like)
1 Tbsp Fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
⅓ cup Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp cajun seasoning


Note: You need to have to pans going at the same time to make this meal efficiently, so if you can score a teammate to help with this one, it will all be perfect at the same time.

  1. In skillet one, on medium high heat, add the polenta, and toss until it starts to get just a little color. Drop the heat to medium, and add the bacon fat, a cup of the stock, and have someone stir with a whisk almost constantly. When the liquid starts to evaporate and hydrate the polenta, continue adding a cup at a time, alternating with the wine. When the allotted wine and stock are gone, move to water, but keep stirring and it will be creamy. This will take about 15 minutes. Keep tasting and adding liquid until tender and smooth.

  2. In skillet two, on medium high heat, add a dollop of fat of your choice and the sliced leek and andouille sausage.

  3. When both start to carmelize after a few minutes, add the garlic and bell pepper and let those start to brown as well, another few minutes or so.

  4. Drop the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, cajun seasoning, thyme leaves, and parsley and let it all simmer together, melding flavors for about 3 minutes.

  5. Add the prawns until cooked through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Back to skillet one, add the heavy cream, cheese, thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Keep stirring and adding water until it’s thick and tender and smooth.

  7. Add grits to plate, then spoon the prawns and vegetable mixture on top. Garnish with fresh thyme or sliced scallions. Serve immediately.